Allied Warships

HMCS St. Laurent (H 83)

Destroyer of the C class

NavyThe Royal Canadian Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassC 
PennantH 83 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered9 Jul 1930 
Laid down1 Dec 1930 
Launched29 Sep 1931 
Commissioned17 Feb 1937 
End service10 Oct 1945 
History

Decommissioned on 10 October 1945.
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 9 November 1945.

 
Former nameHMS Cygnet

Commands listed for HMCS St. Laurent (H 83)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Adrian Mitchell Hope, RCN8 Dec 19375 Oct 1939
2Lt.Cdr. Harry George De Wolf, RCN6 Oct 193913 Jul 1940
3Lt. Herbert Sharples Rayner, RCN14 Jul 194018 Feb 1942
4Lt.Cdr. (retired) Edgar Lorne Armstrong, RCN19 Feb 194213 Nov 1942
5A/Cdr. Guy Stanley Windeyer, RCN14 Nov 194219 Jan 1943
6Cdr. Hugh Francis Pullen, RCN20 Jan 194312 Mar 1943
7Lt.Cdr. George Hay Stephen, DSC, RCNR13 Mar 194314 Apr 1944
8Lt.Cdr. Angus George Boulton, RCNVR15 Apr 19447 Nov 1944
9A/Lt.Cdr. Michael Grote Stirling, RCN8 Nov 19447 Apr 1945
10Lt.Cdr. George Hay Stephen, DSC, OBE, RD, RCNR8 Apr 194510 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving St. Laurent include:


12 Jun 1940
HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) is undocked ant then immediately departed Liverpool escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) and HMCS Skeena. They were to joind troop convoy US 3 on the 14th. (1)

13 Jun 1940
HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) and her three escorting destroyers, HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) and HMCS Skeena are joined around 1130 hours by another Canadian destroyer, HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN), which came from Plymouth after effecting repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. (1)

14 Jun 1940
Convoy US 3, made up of the troopships (liners) Andes (25689 GRT, built 1939), Aquitania (44786 GRT, built 1914), Empress of Britain (42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922), Mauretania (35739 GRT, built 1939) and Queen Mary (81235 GRT, built 1936) with troop from New Zealand and Australia on board and escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. the Hon. G.H.E. Russell, RN) and HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was joined around 0800 hours by HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), which came from Gibraltar, and joined around 1000 hours by the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN), HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN) which came from the U.K. Shortly afterwards HMS Dorsetshire left the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar.

Later that day, around 1500 hours, the convoy was joined by the destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, RN) and around 1600 hours by two more destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (2)

2 Jul 1940
At 07.58 hours on 2 July 1940, the unescorted British passenger vessel Arandora Star was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-47 about 125 nautical miles east by north of Malin Head, Co. Donegal and foundered later in position 56°30'N, 10°38'W. The ship had 479 German internees, 734 Italian internees, 86 German prisoners-of-war and 200 military guards on board. The master, 55 crew members, 91 guards and 713 Italians and Germans were lost. 118 crew members, 109 guards and 586 Italians and Germans were picked up by the Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent (Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) and landed at Greenock.

4 Sep 1940
HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) picks up 89 survivors from the British merchant Titan that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-47 about 80 nautical miles south-west of Rockall in position 58°14'N, 15°50'W.

15 Sep 1940
The Canadian merchant Kenordoc is shelled and damaged about 44 nautical miles west-north-west of Rockall in position 57°42'N, 15°02'W by German U-boat U-99. HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) later picks up 13 survivors.

2 Dec 1940
HMCS St. Laurent (Lt H.S. Rayner, RCN) picks up survivors from the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Forfar that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-99 about 500 nautical miles west of Ireland in position 54°35'N, 18°18'W.

3 Dec 1940
HMCS St. Laurent (Lt H.S. Rayner, RCN) picks up 53 survivors from the British tanker Conch that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-99 about 370 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 54°21'N, 19°30'W.

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane ( GRT, built ), (Belgian) Elizabethville (8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
(Dutch) Costa Rica (8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (5388 GRT, built 1937), (Belgian) Leopoldville (11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 6 January 1941. (3)

3 Mar 1941
HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) arrived at Halifax for a refit.

27 Dec 1942

German U-boat U-356 was sunk in the North Atlantic north of the Azores, in position 45°30'N, 25°40'W, by depth charges from the Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent (A/Cdr. G.S. Windeyer, RCN) and the Canadian corvettes HMCS Chilliwack (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.L. Foxall, RCNR), HMCS Battleford (T/Lt. F.A. Beck, RCNVR) and HMCS Napanee (T/Lt. S. Henderson, RCNR). HMCS Napanee also picks up 25 survivors from the British merchant King Edward that was one of U-356's last victims.

HMCS Napanee also picks up 18 survivors from the Dutch merchant Soekaboemi that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-356. The damaged Soekaboemi was later sunk by U-441.

28 Mar 1943
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RD, RNR), HMCS Shediac (Lt. J.O. Every-Clayton, RCNR), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Stephen, OBE, DSC, RCNR), HMCS Kenogami (T/Lt. J.L. Percy, RCNVR) and HMCS Battleford (T/Lt. F.A. Beck, RCNVR). (4)

23 Jun 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMCS Port Arthur (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.T. Simmons, DSO, DSC, RCNVR), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Stephen, OBE, DSC, RCNR), HMCS Agassiz (T/Lt. E.M. More, RCNR), HMS Burwell (Lt. A.H. Parish, RN) and HMS Fusilier (T/Lt. F.M. Phillips, RNVR). (5)

31 Jul 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Stephen, OBE, DSC, RCNR) and HMCS Agassiz (T/Lt. E.M. More, RCNR). (6)

10 Mar 1944
German U-boat U-845 was sunk in the North Atlantic, in position 48°20'N, 20°33'W, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Forester, the Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent, the Canadian corvette HMCS Owen Sound and the Canadian frigate HMCS Swansea.

26 Mar 1944
HMS H 50 (T/Lt. A.F. Wicker, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS Chilliwack (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Coughlin, RCNVR), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Stephen, OBE, DSC, RCNR), HMCS Halifax (T/Lt. M.F. Oliver, RCNR), HMCS Chaudiere (A/Lt.Cdr. C.P. Nixon, RCN), HMCS Fennel (A/Lt.Cdr. W.P. Moffat, RCNVR), HMCS St. Catharines (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.F. Pickard, RCNR) and HMCS Morden (T/Lt. E.C. Smith, RCNVR). (7)

27 Mar 1944
HMS H 50 (T/Lt. A.F. Wicker, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Stephen, OBE, DSC, RCNR) and HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Welland, DSC, RCN). (7)

8 May 1944
HMS H 50 (T/Lt. A.F. Wicker, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Boulton, RCNVR), HMCS Gatineau (Lt.Cdr. H.V.W. Groos, RCN), HMS Sunflower (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.H. Stammers, RNVR), HMCS Mayflower (T/Lt. D.S. Martin, RCNR) and HMCS Drumheller (T/Lt. H.R. Beck, RCNR). (8)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


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($ 59.56)


Cadillac of Destroyers

Barrie, Ron and Macpherson, Ken

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112448
  2. ADM 53/112036 + ADM 53/111885 + ADM 53/112448
  3. ADM 199/1136
  4. ADM 173/17814
  5. ADM 173/17925
  6. ADM 173/17926
  7. ADM 173/18526
  8. ADM 173/18528

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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